• Disturbing the Ant-Hill: Misanthropy and Cosmic Indifference in Clark Ashton Smith’s Medieval Averoigne

    Author(s):
    James Smith (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    Cultural Studies, History, Medieval Studies, Speculative and Science Fiction, The Lone Medievalist
    Subject(s):
    Medievalism, Science fiction, Horror, Genre, 20th-century fantastic literature, Weird fiction, H.P. Lovecraft, Poetry
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Clark Ashton Smith, Weird Tales
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6GP1R
    Abstract:
    Clark Ashton Smith—unlike the more famous H.P. Lovecraft—engaged with the medieval as a setting for his fiction. Lovecraft admired classical Roman civilization and the eighteenth century, but had little time for medieval themes. As Brantley Bryant has related, Lovecraft wrote contemptuously that the Middle Ages was a period that “snivel[ed] along after real civilization faded.”2 Smith, however, has a more complex and curious relationship with the medieval. It is not necessary to admire the Middle Ages to be preoccupied by it—Ernst Robert Curtius devoted a great deal of his scholarly life to studying a period that he considered derivative, its achievements reflections of a superior Classical tradition.3 Lovecraft actively vilified the medieval, but Smith basked in its literary poetics and textures while being indifferent to historicism. In this essay, I explore a medieval world created with a fleshed-out topography and fully-formed cultural context serving as a backdrop for bizarre and hideous themes of weird fiction in the face of human insignificance.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    8 months ago
    License:
    Attribution
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name:pdf 32_smith.pdf
     Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 139